IKEA's new app has a feature to rival Amazon, Target, and Wayfair

Thomas Trutschel / Contributor / Getty ImagesIKEA employees previously told Business Insider that the retailer has a long way to go when it comes to technology.
  • IKEA is introducing a new app intended to make shopping at the furniture chain easier than ever.
  • The augmented-reality app is meant to help shoppers better picture IKEA’s products in the context of their homes.
  • “At Ingka Group, we’re looking to become more accessible to the many and meet customers when, how, and where they want to meet us,” an IKEA spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.
  • IKEA certainly is playing catch-up, given that Amazon, Target, and Wayfair have all introduced shopping experiences featuring augmented reality.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

IKEA is making it easier to shop for furniture without leaving your couch.

The global retailer is unrolling a new app called IKEA Place, which will use augmented reality to allow customers to both visualise and purchase products remotely.

But IKEA shoppers in the United States will have to wait a bit before they can begin using the new app. Reuters reported that France and the Netherlands will be the first two markets to unleash IKEA Place. Major markets like the United States are slated to receive the new technology by the end of 2019.

“The new IKEA app will offer enhancements, including an inspirational feed which enables you to find, chose and buy fast from pictures of room sets,” an IKEA spokesperson said in a statement. “Other examples of new and improved features are product recommendations, ratings and reviews, along with easier searching and browsing.”

The furniture giant already has an app known as IKEA Store. That program doesn’t allow you to purchase goods, although shoppers can use the app to compile a list of desired products to expedite store visits.

Read more: I visited IKEA’s new Manhattan location – and it was like nothing else I’ve seen from the retailer

On the other hand, the new IKEA Place “allows the user to place IKEA products in their living room, using augmented reality,” a spokesperson told Business Insider. Previous iterations of the chain’s augmented-reality app featured this visualisation component, but didn’t allow customers to buy products.

IKEA’s decision to double down on this new app marks a bit of a departure for the furniture retailer.

Business Insider has interviewed 28 current and former IKEA employees for a series of stores about what it’s like to work at the furniture giant. The idea that IKEA is behind the curve when it comes to tech was one especially common refrain throughout those conversations. Many workers even speculated that this sluggishness traced all the way back to IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad’s sceptical attitude toward technology.

And IKEA certainly is playing catch-up, given that Amazon, Target, and Wayfair have all introduced shopping experiences featuring augmented reality.

But IKEA has been dropping signals that it’s ready to embrace big changes, like its decision to launch a series of smaller-format planning studios in major urban centres, rather than just stick with big-box stores.

“Our strategy is really around transforming to be more relevant for consumers and what they’re looking for,” IKEA US COO Leontyne Green Sykes told Business Insider during a tour of the company’s new Manhattan planning studio.

“The new app is looking to take the next step in becoming more accessible for the many people,” a spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement. “At Ingka Group, we’re looking to become more accessible to the many and meet customers when, how, and where they want to meet us.”

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